Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Sri Venkataramana Temple at Car street






Vekatramana temple in Car street in Managalore is a 300 years old temple, located in the centre of the city, and easily accessible. Sri Vekataramana  is the deity of this temple. The temple is run by the Gowda Saraswath Brahmin Community (GSB).  Lord Venkatramana or Venkateswara is worshipped here. Instead of a stone image, the Lord is in a metal icon with a lot of decoration with flowers and silver images. The main attraction here is the Ratha  yatra or Car festival that happens somewhere in between the month of January and February. The festival spans six days ending with Holi. Prasadam is served to all devotees who visit the temple on the first five days. It is celebrated as Lord Venkatraman's marraige during Car festival. One should watch  the festival to get the real feel of the celebrations.

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Sri Venkatramana Temple is centrally located in Mangalore city and with a history of more than 300 years. Car street in Mangalore is famous because of this temple and devotees and tourists visit the temple. This temple was renovated recently during 2012. The temple was designed and built in such a way that the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Veera Venkatesha is visible straight from Car steet. It is also famous for the festivals - Kodial Teru (Mangalore Car Festival), Sharada Mahotsav. Another attraction for the devotees is the delicious food available around the temple. It's always a happy feeling to be here. Lord Venkatraman is a popular deity of GSBs going by the number of temples dedicated to Him both in Karnataka and Kerala. In Kerala, He is known as Shri Venkatachalapati and the temples, Shri Tirumala Devaswom, the very name of Tirupati, the abode of the Lord.

The temple is efficiently managed by the GSB community members. Lord Sree Veera Venkatesha (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) is the supreme deity, the temple has a glorious history of more than 300 years;  being closely associated with Sri Kashi Math Samsthan since inception. In early 17th century, a shrine of Lord Venkataramana was constructed with just a garbha gudi.  The images worshipped were bronze idols of Srinivasa ensemble.  In 1804 Lord Veera Venktesha was installed as the presiding deity.  Lord Sri Venkataramana is the predominant deity of the Gowda Saraswat Brahmin Community. The main attraction here is the Ratha yatra or  Car festival that happens somewhere in between the month of January and February. The festival spans six days ending with Holi.




The contribution of Gowda Saraswat Brahmins community is admirable. There are several temples managed and run by their efforts  with sincere devotion to Lord Vishnu. Majority of GSBs are found in west coast region of India, mainly Goa, Karnataka and parts of Kerala. They speak Konkani, though they speak Kannada and Tulu and Malyalam in Kerala.

The Sri Venkatramana temple has a rich and varied  history.  Earlier the vaishyas were the main residents of this area and when the Portuguese invaded the place, the Vaishyas had to move southwards. This is how many of them settled in Mangalore and Kerala. Sri Venkatramana was the chief deity of the Vaishyas and the temple was built by members of their community. The main deity has other deities along side like Sridevi and Bhoodevi. These deities are made of panchaloha – that is, five metals were used to make the statues. Lord Venkatramana holds the chakra in his right hand and the shankh on the left hand.

The goddess Sridevi is a symbol of prosperity and wealth and Bhoodevi is an embodiment of sanctity, prakriti and success. The temple was built during the seventeenth century and the main idol was erected at the primary sanctum of the temple. The temple also houses other deities like Veera Vittala, Garuda Vahana Shri Gopalakrishna, and Shri Mula Venkatramana. The statue of Naga Devata is present in the temple’s outer circle.

According to a legend, an ascetic called Bairagi, an outsider visited Mangalore in 1804. Normally any migrant or stranger from outside would  take shelter in Car Street. The Bairagi stayed there and used to worship a metal image of Lord Venkateswara. The people, particularly devotees of Lord Vishnu were fascinated and would gather around his place, keen to see the idol and took part in the worship. Later it became difficult to manage the crowd so he shifted his camp to the lower Car street. GSB community members being keen to worship Lord Vishnu, approached a prominent  and a wealthy businessman and a respected person from their community,  known as Sowkar Thimmappa Pai to procure the idol from Bairagi, and build a temple to house the Lord’s image. They were successful in their efforts. And a small shrine was built. The people of the locality most of whom werefrom GSB community started worshipping in this shrine. Ever since its establishment, Gowd Saraswat Brahmins community members are maintaining the temple.

The temple follows Madhwa Vaishnava tradition of Saint Madhwacharya (Srimad Ananda Thirtha). He preached that Lord Vishnu is the Supreme Brahman and Lord of the Universe. Lord Venkataramana or Venkateswara being an incarnation of Lord Vishnu has been worshipped as presiding deity in this temple.

There are other metal icons of Lord Vittala, Goddess Lakshmi, Ganesha, Moola Venkataramana, Gopalakrishna, Hayagriva and Snake gods. The latest additions seems to be Hanuman (Mukhyaprana) and Garuda. The flagpole covered with Silver Clad looks majestic and attractive.

The idol (about  2’ in height) is made of panchaloha (five metals namely Gold, silver, copper, brass and lead) as in Vijayanagara architecture. It is holding sword in right hand as such it has the prefix ‘Veera’ (warrior). This main idol, adorned with diamond crown, leaves the visitors and devotees with an unforgettable divine vibration. A sense of fulfilment of being blessed by the Lord.

Shree Veera Venkataramana Temple being in the midst of the city is easily reachable by city buses from Hampankatta or  by autorickshaws. It’s normally a crowded area with shops, food stalls and flower market nearby.


Also read:
Mangaladevi Temple, Mangalore
Dharmashtala Temple, Mangalore
Mookambika Devi Temple

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Picture Post:
Vethoba Temple, Arawalli,
Maharastra, India
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